He is a financial wizard, we are told. The country is yet to benefit from his wizardry, if his wizardry is only in the area of tax, then he has achieved more than expected.
Many well-meaning Ghanaians, hailed his appointment in 2013, he was a fresh of breathe air from what we are used to.
The political gladiators, the tough talking Finance Ministers, who graced the ministry, left behind a ministry which is so much tainted with politics, and so it was a welcome news, when someone, who as a deputy to Dr. Kwabena Dufuor, was all over the place explaining decisions of the ministry and the government.
His policy dubbed ‘home grown policies’, was a laudable initiative, as we have come to accept the fact that, no country in the southern hemisphere, has been lifted out of poverty by the Breton Wood institutions that have been in existence for almost 70 years now.
Policies and programmes, have been prepared and Washington with various nomenclatures and handed to us like the Trojan Horse, but none was able to achieve any meaningful results.
If we are to make any meaningful gains, we had to walk away from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, little did we know that, even the home grown policy was shoved down our throats by the very institutions that have brought us to our knees all these years.
Seth Terkper, has worked to reduce our wage bill, I am sure if he was the substantive minister of Finance at the time the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), was introduced, he would have kicked against it.
The GIFMIS that he is so passionate about, is helping to synchronize government expenditure and ensure that, government contractors, deserving of payment are paid and not just anybody, making demands and getting paid, because the money is there.
He has brought some level of respectability to the Finance Ministry, with his hands on approach and making himself available to the media, to be grilled when the need arises.
But above all the positives, how is he going to be remembered?
Ghanaians, as the President John Dramani Mahama said, have short memory. We most often focus on the bad and throw away the good, for political expediency, if you may. The Minister, will go down in history as the finance minister, who introduced more taxes and that is not a positive sign for a minister, whom much was expected from.
The day, the Minister set out to impose taxes on cutlass and condoms, was the day I begun getting worried, about who’s bidding the honourable minister was doing.
He is in love with taxes, anytime he opens his mouth; all we hear is one tax after another. It is on the basis of this that, he was misquoted and taken out of context, when he addressed the Stanbic Bank-daily Graphic breakfast meeting a fortnight ago
I want to come clear here. Ordinarily, no one would be against taxation if actually it is channeled towards bettering the lots of the people.
Taxation itself goes hand in hand with development. It is tied to the funding of development projects and it works in a chain that links it with individual and corporate growth. There is a close relationship between taxation and prosperity as they are mutually complimentary. Taxes flow from the productive engagement of the people and are parts of the profits made from one’s enterprises.
Any dollar that we get from our bilateral and multi-lateral partners comes from the taxes collected from their citizens and as it is said, they are no free lunch anywhere.
You want development, you must pay for it, you want infrastructure, you must pay for it, everything we desire as a people, we must be ready to pay, and the only means for raising government revenue is through taxes.
But as a developing country, we need a lot of social intervention programmes to help those down the economic ladder. We cannot tax our way out of every problem, we need to develop and look at new areas of getting revenue to engineer growth and development.
The Ministry of Finance to my shock issued a statement two days after causing a lot of uproar and resentment towards the government, regarding the taxes on pension and allowances.
Apparently, it was a policy this government inherited, but because all that we hear from the mouth of our finance minister is tax and nothing else, people failed to see beyond what he was saying or had said.
The tax man is making his presence felt everywhere, from agriculture to commerce to industry, he is taxing everything.
A lot is happening under his tenure as a finance minister, but as I mentioned earlier, if care is not taken, all that will be dumped in the dustbin of history and the only thing he will be remembered for is, how many new taxes, he introduced or which ones he increased.
Whenever I hear name Seth Terkper, should I think of a man who brought relief to the people or the one who has increased threshold beyond imagination and who is putting this government in a very uncompromising position.
I am not doing politics, but some of the policies, in terms of taxes that Seth Terkper, has introduced, will go a long way to determine the success of otherwise of this government, in the November 7 polls.
Just yesterday General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU), were up in arms, kicking against the 12.5percent tax on agro-processing enterprises.
According to the workers, it used to be zero tax. Although, I agree that, agro-processing enterprises, must pay taxes, can we take it slowly with
A quantum leap from zero to 12.5percent, doesn’t engender confidence in anyone interested in investing in that sector, which is very critical.
Where is Seth Terkper, I am talking about my tax man, I hope he will listen to the cry and plea of GAWU and reconsider.